2009 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Dallas||Tyrone W. Baker
Finding forgotten Texas peace officers killed in the line of duty became a calling for Terry Baker following his retirement in 1994 as the assistant chief deputy of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.
Shortly before his retirement, a descendant advised that she thought her grandfather was a deputy who had been killed in the line of duty; however, no one in the department was aware of this incident. Through his research, Mr. Baker determined that the woman's grandfather had died in the line of duty in 1923 while preventing a jail escape. The escapee had also killed another deputy, and the sheriff’s department was also unaware of that death in the line of duty.
Fast forward a couple of years, when another descendant queried about a great-great-uncle who had been killed in the 1890s, who the family thought was a Dallas County sheriff's deputy at the time. Although Mr. Baker had been retired for well over two years, he was asked to conduct the research and was able to verify that line-of-duty death as well.
With the discovery of this third unacknowledged death of a Dallas County deputy, Mr. Baker believed there were more and felt an obligation to continue the search. He started by going through old files and newspaper archives, and the list of names he found grew. He would check the records of law enforcement departments and memorials, libraries, funeral homes, cemeteries, and museums. Mr. Baker and his wife, Joyce, have traveled to the far reaches of Texas and countless destinations in between to make sure no Texas peace officer killed in the line of duty is forgotten. With relentless perseverance, he has completed 236 cases and is working on his 237th. His compensation is the gratitude of the departments and family members who now know that the sacrifice of these officers has not been forgotten.
One of those peace officers previously lost to history was FBI Special Agent Charles Linson Brown, Jr., who was killed in a fiery automobile accident on July 5, 1973, while assigned to the Dallas Division, Tyler Resident Agency. The name of Special Agent Charles Linson Brown, Jr. was added to both the National Law Enforcement Memorial as well as the Texas Law Enforcement Memorial in May of 2009.
The son of Richard Blackstone Brown—a Dallas FBI special agent who was killed in July of 1943—wrote the following upon learning that his father would be added to the Texas Law Enforcement Memorial in 2009.
“Sixty-six years is a long time in one’s lifetime but not so long ago that the sorrow has disappeared. Growing up my siblings and I were very proud that our Father had been a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I still am. So many lives were dramatically altered by his untimely death and even today if I think about it I become very sad.”